There is another crisis in our country that is being ignored – rising crime and violence in so many urban communities.
Public safety is one of the foundations to having a thriving community, no matter the socio-economic background. Parents want to live in communities where they can rest assured that their children are going to be safe playing outside, going to school and even sleeping in their own beds. Parents want to live where they don’t have to worry about their homes being burglarized—or businesses being looted—but that is not the reality for too many Americans.
Democrats pushing to “Defund the Police” made a terrible mistake, and every public official should denounce that movement and actively work to reverse it. “Defund the police” has left cities unsafe and communities living in fear.
In Chicago, a city run by Democrats for decades, business leaders are very concerned with the increased crime in their city and how it will negatively impact both business owners and consumers. Making matters worse, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently vilified the police which is not what you need to do when your city is under siege.
One of the key components to the growth and vibrancy of a community is economic investment. You want to be able do things like go out to eat, shop and see a movie without having to drive for miles to another, safer city. Businesses will lose customers if they feel unsafe, and tourists will not come to certain areas if they do not feel that public safety is a priority.
Moreover, larger companies may close their doors because of consistent theft and crime. Walgreens just recently shut down five of their stores in San Francisco, a city that moved to defund the police, in part because of shoplifting and ‘organized retail crime.’
I remember working in Detroit and being told by residents that one of main reasons they had food deserts was because major grocery stores and restaurants shut down their doors due to crime. We need to have a strong police presence and more public safety: it helps communities.
Every election is about choices and there are many single-issue voters, whether they focus on the issue of being pro-life or supporting school choice. As we lead up to the midterm elections, I am sure “security voters” will be another important voting bloc. Security includes national security, public safety and economic security because they all go hand in hand.
Currently, in Virginia’s gubernatorial race between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe—who served as Governor before—it is Youngkin, a political outsider, that has the support from the law enforcement community. That means something to voters because they can read the headlines, they can see the impact in their own communities, and they want leaders that take crime seriously because lives and livelihoods are in jeopardy.
Safety and security is not a Black issue or a White issue, and it should not be either a Democrat or a Republican issue. We should be able to come together as Americans and say: let’s find ways to make every city better and every city safer so all children, regardless of background, can grow up safe and secure with the ability to pursue their own version of the American Dream.
President Trump talked about public safety, and he was right to do so. He worked to establish Operation Legend to combat crime through the Department of Justice. President Trump asked the Mayor of Chicago and Governor of Illinois to work with him to get something done, but they did not act. President Trump also signed his Safe Policing for Safe Communities Executive Order when the Democrats filibustered Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform bill-—the JUSTICE Act.
It’s not limited to Chicago. According to FBI reports, the state of North Carolina had more incidents of violent crime than the national average last year. Democrat Governor Roy Cooper must take responsibility for that.
While there are many factors that go into the root causes of the crises we’re facing regarding crime and violence, there is a root solution and that is leadership. Democrats are in charge nationally and also in most of these Democrat cities which have seen an increase in crime like New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Detroit.
Enough is enough, and we the people must take our cities back. In order to do that, we must reject calls to defund the police. We need strong public safety, vibrant economic plans that will attract and incentivize business and educational opportunities, and most importantly we need elected leaders who will push for what is right. Thus far, that leadership has not come from radical Democrats.
Paris Dennard is the National Spokesperson and Director of Black Media Affairs for the Republican National Committee (RNC). Follow him on Twitter: @PARISDENNARD.